MISSOULA — The newest University of Montana “dining room” arrived aboard a flatbed truck Tuesday, rolling onto campus after traveling cross-country from New Jersey.
The maroon, silver and white “Galloping Griz” food truck is now staged outside Washington-Grizzly Stadium and will begin serving food at Missoula College’s West Campus and on UM’s main campus in early April.
“The truck will have double duty, serving Missoula College during the day, then at night it will provide late-night service on the west side of campus,” said Mike Spencer, assistant director of residential dining.
The Missoula College’s West Campus, home to the Department of Industrial Technology, has an aging dining facility where renovations would have cost roughly $250,000. On the main campus, students often respond to Dining Services surveys saying they’d like more late-night food options.
The Galloping Griz cost $169,000 and travels easily between locations, Spencer said.
It will debut on April 8, the day students return from spring break. It will serve breakfast and lunch food, including “traditional fare” like hamburgers and chicken strips, as well as daily hot meals.
The truck will be staged just outside the existing West Campus kitchen from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students will be able to order at the window, then take their food “to go.”
At night, the Galloping Griz will serve affordable, quick service options on UM’s campus, Spencer said.
Initially the truck will park on the west side of the campus, near many of the residence halls. It will most likely operate on weekends and on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting at around 8:30 p.m., Spencer said.
“We’re going to start at the Lommasson Center. We’re going to look at maybe moving it around on campus,” Spencer said.
The state-of-the-art truck includes a full kitchen run by a generator and includes an air-conditioning unit. Dining Services will hire a student manager to run the late-night service and have existing Missoula College staff run it there, Spencer said.
UM got the idea for Galloping Griz after seeing a similar truck at the University of California Santa Barbara, Spencer said.
“I think it’s starting to become a trend,” Spencer said. “But usually we try to stay ahead of the curve and get out in front of it. The food truck will be a fun environment for our students.”